• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Here are 10 Forbes billionaires reshaping the automobile industry

The automobile industry has experienced remarkable growth and transformation over the years, evolving from the horseless carriages of the late 19th century to the electric vehicles of today. The global automobile industry is not only a powerhouse of innovation and economic activity but also a fertile ground for creating wealth. Notable in particular is the rise of Chinese billionaires who have made significant profits from the growing electric vehicle (EV) sector, securing their place as important figures in the development of the industry.

India has also become a major player in a number of industries, including automobiles. India’s rise to the fourth-largest position in the world car market for light vehicles in 2023 demonstrated its expanding power in the automobile industry.

Despite the challenges faced in 2023, when there was a decline in sales of electric vehicles due to widespread strikes in US factories, rising material costs, and supply chain disruptions, the global automobile industry saw total sales of 92 million units of both commercial and passenger vehicles. Global passenger and commercial vehicle sales are projected to reach 95 million units in 2024, rising just over 3.1% from 2023.

The global automobile industry is getting interesting with fierce competition and innovation. The United States, Germany, and Denmark are some of the highest paying countries for automobile engineers.

Here are 10 richest billionaires in the automobile industry with their net worth from Forbes Real Time Billionaire Index as of April 8.

Elon Musk – $189.2 billion
Elon Musk, the cofounder of six companies including Tesla, SpaceX, and the Boring Company, is currently the third richest individual globally and the richest billionaire in the automobile industry. With a 12% ownership stake in Tesla, Musk has propelled the company to unprecedented heights.

Stefan Quandt – $28.2 billion
Stefan Quandt, a prominent figure in the automobile industry, is a German billionaire heir, engineer, and industrialist. Ranked as the 63rd richest individual globally, Quandt’s influence extends through his ownership of 23.6% of the automaker BMW. Alongside his sister Susanne Klatten, the richest woman in Germany, Quandt serves on BMW’s supervisory board, with Quandt holding the esteemed position of deputy chairman.

Robin Zeng – $28 billion
Robin Zeng, a Chinese businessman, serves as the founder and chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), a powerhouse in the automotive industry. As the 64th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $28 billion, Zeng’s leadership has elevated CATL to prominence as one of the world’s largest suppliers of batteries for electric vehicles. Since its listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2018, CATL has forged partnerships with renowned automakers like BMW, Volkswagen, and Geely, cementing Zeng’s position as the third wealthiest billionaire in the automobile industry.

Susanne Klatten – $27.2 billion
German billionaire heiress, is the 69th richest person globally. With about 19% ownership in BMW, she has made a name for herself in the automobile industry and went ahead to become the 4th richest billionaire in the automobile industry. In addition to her automobile interests, Klatten serves as both the sole owner and deputy chair of Altana, a chemical manufacturing company with annual sales exceeding $2.5 billion.

Eric Li – $18.6 billion
Eric Li, also recognized as Li Shufu, is a Chinese venture capitalist and political scientist. As the chairman of Geely Automobile Holdings, one of China’s largest automakers and one of the few automobile companies not controlled by the state. His expansion began in 2010 with the acquisition of the Swedish car brand Volvo, he went ahead to diversify his portfolio by acquiring stakes in prominent U.K. luxury sports car makers Aston Martin and Lotus, further solidifying his influence. Reflecting on his humble beginnings, Li shared with Forbes Asia in 2014 that he crafted his first cars from sand as a child due to financial constraints, a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and determination. With a net worth placing him as the 102nd richest person globally, Li’s entrepreneurial acumen and strategic vision continue to shape the automotive landscape both in China and internationally.

Wang Chuanfu – $15.9 billion
Wang Chuanfu, a Chinese chemist and billionaire entrepreneur, is the founder, chairman, and CEO of BYD Company. With a net worth ranking him as the 121st richest person in the world, Wang’s journey began in the mid-1990s when he co-founded BYD as a rechargeable battery company. Under his leadership, BYD has undergone an evolution, emerging as the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) company by sales. In 2022, BYD surpassed Tesla, redefining its position as an industry leader. Today, BYD accounts for 21% of the global EV market.

Huang Shilin – $12.9 billion
Formerly the vice chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), the world’s largest supplier of batteries to the electric car industry, is the Chinese billionaire Huang Shilin. Huang is the 152nd richest person in the world with a net worth of $12.9 billion, despite having resigned from the board in August 2022. During Huang’s employment at CATL, the company achieved tremendous success and played a key role in expanding battery technology for sustainable transportation. Huang’s business ventures demonstrate his success and influence in the business world even after his departure.

Lu Xiangyang – $12.7 billion
Lu Xiangyang’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1995 when he joined forces with his cousin Wang Chuanfu while working at a local branch of the People’s Bank of China to establish BYD, initially a battery manufacturer. Today, Lu serves as the vice chairman of the company, which has surpassed Tesla to become the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) maker by sales. In addition to his role at BYD, Lu also leads his own investment firm, Youngy Investment Holding Group. With a net worth ranking him as the 155th richest individual globally, Lu’s success as a Chinese entrepreneur highlights his significant contributions to both the automobile and investment industries.

Shahid Khan – $12.3 billion
Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-American billionaire businessman and sports mogul, ranks as the 163rd richest individual globally. Popularly known as the owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate, Khan’s journey to success began as an immigrant from Pakistan. In 1980, he purchased Flex-N-Gate from his former employer. As an engineer, Khan’s groundbreaking design for a one-piece truck bumper laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial triumph.With 76 factories and over 27,000 workers globally, Flex-N-Gate is a testament to Khan’s leadership and significant influence in the automotive sector.

Wei Jianjun – $11.6 billion
Chinese businessman and 175th richest person worldwide, Wei Jianjun, is the chairman of Great Wall Motors, the largest Chinese manufacturer of SUVs. In 1990, at the age of 26, he assumed control of the debt-ridden Great Wall Automobile Industry Company, which served as the precursor to the present-day business.